Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 44

Thread: Mandolin as a Stand Alone Instrument

  1. #1

    Default Mandolin as a Stand Alone Instrument

    No doubt mandolins are not the most versatile instruments. You hardly see a mandolin player performing solo (besides Thile). They just don't have the range and sustain like a guitar does. Can anyone think of any good songs where mandolin is the primary instrument? I was searching for some songs like these, but I couldn't turn up a whole lot besides Sam Bush's version of Sailing Shoes which is actually accompanied by bass. Some suggestion or ideas please. I would like to work up a few songs where mandolin is a stand alone instrument or at least in the forefront.

  2. #2

  3. #3
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    23,385
    Blog Entries
    53

    Default Re: Mandolin as a Stand Alone Instrument

    Just to be clear, you are talking about recordings of solo mandolin music, or music that sounds good when played by a mandolin alone?

    I believe that with the addition of tremolo, double stops, and chord melody, and proper use of dynamics, many many many tunes can sound great played on mandolin alone. Just about every Christmas Carol, about 2/3 of the fiddle tunes, most of the eastern European fiddle music, just about all waltzes, most rags, a lot of the medieval repertory, some of the classical, ...

    I mean a whole lot.

    That you don't see a lot of solo mandolin is (I believe) more evidence of popular taste rather than limitations to the mandolin per se.
    Last edited by JeffD; Dec-09-2013 at 2:51pm.
    Having something to say is highly over rated.

    The entire staff
    funny....

  4. The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to JeffD For This Useful Post:


  5. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    12,184

    Default Re: Mandolin as a Stand Alone Instrument

    Two words: Jethro Burns

    Find his Tea For One recording, a marvel in solo mandolin (and corn).

  6. The following members say thank you to AlanN for this post:


  7. #5
    Idiot Savant padawan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Austin Texas
    Posts
    265

    Default Re: Mandolin as a Stand Alone Instrument

    Mr. Burns certainly provides a good example:


    Here's a Sam Bush solo performance that is a little outside the box:



    If you want to hear same doing Sailin' Shoes without the bass CLICK HERE
    My GFs: Collings MF, Mandobird VIII, Mando-Strat, soprano & baritone ukuleles tuned to GDAE and a Martin X1-DE Guitar.

  8. #6
    Registered User samlyman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Post Falls, Idaho
    Posts
    276

    Default Re: Mandolin as a Stand Alone Instrument

    I play a number of blues tunes solo using drone strings and double-stops to provide a full sound. My favorites are Crossroads Blues, One Way Out, Statesboro Blues, San Francisco Bay Blues and Deep Elem Blues. I also play a number of old-time fiddle tunes solo using the same techniques.

    Happy pickin',

    Sam

  9. #7
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    12,185

    Default Re: Mandolin as a Stand Alone Instrument

    Brian Oberlin has two solo swing records out recently. Seems that a fair amount if not all of Chris Acquavella's latest is unaccompanied. Then there's everything recorded by Evan Marshall.
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

    Notorious: My Celtic CD--listen & buy!

    Lyon & Healy Wood Thormahlen Andersen Bacorn Yanuziello Fender National Gibson Franke Fuchs Aceto Three Hungry Pit Bulls

  10. #8
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    27,703

    Default Re: Mandolin as a Stand Alone Instrument

    As JeffD mentioned, classical.

    Carlo Aonzo (music starts around 00:37):


    Ralf Leenen:


    Avi Avital playinga folk tune solo:


    ...and... of course, Evan Marshall:
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  11. The following members say thank you to Jim Garber for this post:

    mtm 

  12. #9
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    23,385
    Blog Entries
    53

    Default Re: Mandolin as a Stand Alone Instrument

    In summary, I would say that it is more likely that any given piece of music could sound great on solo mandolin than the reverse.
    Having something to say is highly over rated.

    The entire staff
    funny....

  13. #10

    Default Re: Mandolin as a Stand Alone Instrument

    Quote Originally Posted by r.riley77 View Post
    No doubt mandolins are not the most versatile instruments. You hardly see a mandolin player performing solo (besides Thile). They just don't have the range and sustain like a guitar does. Can anyone think of any good songs where mandolin is the primary instrument? I was searching for some songs like these, but I couldn't turn up a whole lot besides Sam Bush's version of Sailing Shoes which is actually accompanied by bass. Some suggestion or ideas please. I would like to work up a few songs where mandolin is a stand alone instrument or at least in the forefront.
    Try Mike Compton, "Rotten Taters" to be precise. Available from the man hisself.
    http://mikecompton.net/music.php

  14. #11
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    16,386

    Default Re: Mandolin as a Stand Alone Instrument

    And, of course, there are always octave mandolin, mandocello, even mandola if you want to sound more "guitary."
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  15. #12

    Default Re: Mandolin as a Stand Alone Instrument

    Not to mention Mike Compton
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpaYmZNE-Qo

  16. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Mike Bunting For This Useful Post:


  17. #13

    Default Re: Mandolin as a Stand Alone Instrument

    If folks can listen to Braxton's "For Alto"...
    Last edited by catmandu2; Dec-09-2013 at 4:25pm.

  18. #14

    Default Re: Mandolin as a Stand Alone Instrument

    Hamilton de Holanda, solo on 10 string bandolim.


  19. #15
    bon vivant jaycat's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Boston, Mass.
    Posts
    2,535

    Default Re: Mandolin as a Stand Alone Instrument

    And then, there's the oft-posted video of Ry Cooder playing Goin' To Brownsville.
    "The paths of experimentation twist and turn through mountains of miscalculations, and often lose themselves in error and darkness!"
    --Leslie Daniel, "The Brain That Wouldn't Die."

    Some tunes: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa1..._as=subscriber

  20. #16
    Registered User Justus True Waldron's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Schuylerville, NY
    Posts
    564

    Default Re: Mandolin as a Stand Alone Instrument

    Jesse Cobb's new album is all solo mandolin...
    - 2004 Macica A
    - 1952 Selmer Centered Tone
    - Eastwood electric mandola
    (and lots more)

  21. #17
    Registered User rockies's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Kimberley BC
    Posts
    484

    Default Re: Mandolin as a Stand Alone Instrument

    Let's not forget the great Radim Zenkl and his superb solo mandolin performances with the multiple sounds from his fingerpicking style.
    Dave
    Heiden A, '52 Martin D-18, Taylor 510, Carlson Custom A with Electronics

  22. #18
    working for the mando.... Bluetickhound's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Peachtree City, Ga (aka, the bubble)
    Posts
    682

    Default Re: Mandolin as a Stand Alone Instrument

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YU0...e_gdata_player

    I'm almist positive that this lovely and talented lady is shouting down from heaven "HEY!!! What about THIS??!??"...

  23. #19
    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    8,012

    Default Re: Mandolin as a Stand Alone Instrument

    The Battle of Evermore by Led Zeppelin. There are other instruments on the studio version, but the mandolin is clearly the main instrument to the extent it would have worked with mandolin as the only instrument.

  24. The following members say thank you to John Flynn for this post:


  25. #20

    Default Re: Mandolin as a Stand Alone Instrument

    The list is probably limited only by the skill of the player, as Sam Bush often demonstrates...ie. "Brilliancy"

  26. #21
    'Nother Registered User Jeff Richards's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Wheat Ridge, Colorado
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Mandolin as a Stand Alone Instrument

    Jim Richter has many fine examples on Youtube. He has a tremendous range of material, with something for just about everyone. This is one of my favorites:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUWb...e_gdata_player

    Hope this helps.

    Jeff
    "My soul seemed as foul as smoke from burning cat fur."
    Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle

    "I'm a farmer with a mandolin and a high tenor voice."
    Bill Monroe

  27. The following members say thank you to Jeff Richards for this post:


  28. #22
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    5,019

    Default Re: Mandolin as a Stand Alone Instrument

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Shelton View Post
    The list is probably limited only by the skill of the player, as Sam Bush often demonstrates...ie. "Brilliancy"
    It's great to celebrate how many genres of music our little instrument can fit into. As a list of players, I'd add Tim O'Brien, who I've seen in live performance, and who can capture a room spellbound with just a mandolin and his voice.

    I think it's also important to recognize and honor the limitations of our instrument. There aren't many, but I don't think I'll ever be convinced that a mandolin is an appropriate instrument for playing an Irish/Scottish traditional slow air. I mean the kind of tune with no set meter, intended for deep expression with the human voice, or a sustaining instrument like fiddle, flute, whistle, box, or pipes. The mandolin is suitable as a solo instrument almost everywhere, but not for this. The only way we have to extend a note for a long duration is tremolo, and it just doesn't work here (IMO).

    P.S. there was a thread on playing slow airs in the Celtic section of the forum not too long ago, where this was discussed. I just disagree with those who say this works.

  29. #23
    Au fol la marotte
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Cote Rotie.
    Posts
    823
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Mandolin as a Stand Alone Instrument

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    P.S. there was a thread on playing slow airs in the Celtic section of the forum not too long ago, where this was discussed. I just disagree with those who say this works.
    There was indeed - as far as i remember, most folks actually agreed that mandolin is not overly suitable for playing slow airs... at least not as a solo instrument at any rate.

    Then again, when i listen to Mike Compton playing 'Evening Prayer Blues' -



    I do think that there maybe hope yet.

  30. #24
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Almeria, Spain
    Posts
    5,442
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: Mandolin as a Stand Alone Instrument

    The new 'Solitude' CD by Jesse Cobb is excellent and features mostly solo mandolin. Enjoying listening to that in my car... shows what can be done.
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
    Distressed Silverangel F 'Esmerelda' aka 'Maxx'
    Northfield Big Mon #127
    Ellis F5 Special #288
    '39 & '45 D-18's, 1950 D-28.

  31. #25
    Au fol la marotte
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Cote Rotie.
    Posts
    823
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Mandolin as a Stand Alone Instrument

    Songs driven by the mandolin?

    A popular number from my childhood -



    And one from a few years ago -



    I think though that if you put some time and imagination into playing then most songs will work on mandolin.

    For most of my time playing i generally arranged songs that had little to no mandolin in the original - some worked better than others... the fun is to be had in the trying.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •